The Grandure of the Grand Canyon

Emotion swelled up within me so quickly that a lump formed in my throat and
tears spilled down my check within less than a minute. I had expected to be amazed. I
was anticipating being astounded. But the photos that I had seen and the stories that I
had heard had not sufficiently prepared me for my first sighting. There, stretching out in
a breadth that created a 180-degree panoramic view, in a depth that plunged miles into
the gorge below, and in a height that challenged the clouds for authority to occupy the
heavens was the Grand Canyon.


Huge is too small a word. Grand is too modest an adjective. Remarkable is
too ordinary a modifier. Speechless - I was speechless. The beauty and grandeur were
inexpressible. I could only weep. My husband stood at my side. He slipped his arm
around my shoulder and stood there silently and reverentially. Together, we individually
attempted to embrace the experience.
The mighty Colorado River could barely be seen at the bottom of the deep ravine.
It appeared as a small cord wound throughout the rough terrain. I know that the river
provides agricultural water for irrigation systems, utilities for many cities, and power for
many states; yet in contrast to the vast canyon, the Colorado was dwarfed and hardly
visible.


The rock formations displayed such varied angles and asymmetry that they
seemed to be competing for a trophy for most unique sculpture. Color tones from light
tans to dark browns and pale pinks to dark reds appeared to be painted into the rock
striations, thus highlighting the layers, accentuating the complexity, and emphasizing the
beauty. No painting of man could compare to this masterful canvas of artistic splendor.
After a prolonged period of reflective appreciation, my mind recounted the words
of the psalmist who, upon contemplation of the creative works of God’s hands,
declared, “What is man that You (God) take thought of him; and the son of man that You
care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God and You have crowned
him with glory and majesty. You make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You
have put all things under his feet.” (Ps.8:4-6, NASB)


I could identify with the sentiments of this psalm. In comparison to this great
canyon, who am I? The rocks have endured since the foundation of the earth, but I am
here today and gone tomorrow. This wonder of creation draws spectators from around
the world, while I am known to only a few friends and family. The canyon is steadfast
and immovable, while I am often inconsistent and wavering in my faith. Yet God – yet
God – has created mankind, including me, to bear His image in a way that no other
created thing can match.


My source of tears changed. I went from crying over creation’s beauty to
weeping over amazing grace. Smaller in size is not less in importance. I stood before the
grandeur of the Grand Canyon and worshipped. I worshipped for the world God has
created and for the creation He has made me in order that I might worship. “All the earth
worships Thee; they sing praises to Thee, sing praises to Thy name.” (Ps. 66:4)

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~Dr. Patti Amsden